Just before Louisville’s win over North Florida Saturday afternoon, it was announced that freshman forward Deng Adel would be sidelined with a sprained knee. Adel, who suffered the injury in practice on Friday, will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury and how long he’ll have to sit out.
Following Louisville’s 89-61 win over North Florida Saturday afternoon, head coach Rick Pitino stated that he did not expect the 6-foot-8 freshman to miss much playing time.
“I think he will probably sit out the next game and hopefully be ready by Thanksgiving,” Pitino said.
Adel started each of Louisville’s first two games, playing 17 minutes per contest with averages of 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. With Adel sidelined sophomore guard Quentin Snider moved into the starting lineup Saturday, giving the Cardinals two points guards in he and grad student Trey Lewis.
While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.
One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).
They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.
That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.
“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”
As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.
Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.
But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.
One day after senior guard Chris Jones returned to the rotation in No. 12 Louisville’s win over Miami, the program announced that he has been dismissed from the program.
Jones, who came off the bench Saturday, started 24 of the 26 games he played in and led the Cardinals in assists (3.6 apg) and steals (2.0 spg). Jones also averaged 13.7 points per game, which was third on the team behind sophomore guard Terry Rozier and junior forward Montrezl Harrell.
In each of the last two games Louisville has started freshman Quentin Snider in place of Jones, and the freshman performed well in the Cardinals’ loss at Syracuse. Snider played 38 minutes in that game, accounting for 13 points, four assists and three rebounds. However he was unable to build on that performance Saturday, as he played just five minutes and failed to register a point, rebound or assist.
Without Jones more will be asked of both Snider and senior Wayne Blackshear, who continues to have issues from a consistency standpoint. Blackshear scored ten points on Saturday, and he scored 19 in a loss to NC State, but he also went scoreless in the loss at Syracuse. In a home win over Pittsburgh, Blackshear aggravated a hip pointer that has been an issue for him recently.
The other question is how Louisville accounts for the loss of Jones on the defensive end. With Jones suspended for the loss at Syracuse the Cardinals did not use their full court pressure all that often, and that impacted their aggressiveness in the half court as well. This could be the biggest concern for the Cardinals moving forward, as they look to make a run deep into March.